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Charitable Gift Giving

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year that brings feelings of wanting to "give back" to our community and wanting to make a difference in someone's life. Unfortunately, thieves oftentimes take advantage of this goodwill and may pose as a real charity in order to steal money or to get private information to commit identity theft. Below is a list of how thieves prey on their potential victims and what you can do to avoid being a victim this holiday season.

Thieves use a variety of strategies to lure their victims to contribute to various charities so beware of the following tactics that these thieves may use such as:

  • Claiming to be with "Real" charities to gain your trust;
  • Using names of charities of which you are already familiar;
  • Using email to get you to go to their bogus website that often looks like a "real" charity website;
  • Contacting you by phone or email to get you to 'donate' money or to them give your financial information.

Here are some guidelines recommended by the IRS to guide you in your charitable gift giving:

  • Donate to "Qualified" charities. If you go to the IRS website and use the "Exempt Organizations Select Check" tool, you will find "Qualified" charities. Only donations to "Qualified" organizations are tax-deductible. You can also find legitimate charities at the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. (For more information about the kinds of charities that can receive deductible contributions, see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.)
  • Don't give out personal information. Don't give your Social Security number, credit card and bank account numbers, or passwords to anyone. Scam artists use this information to steal your identity and money.
  • Don't give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, don't give or send cash. Contribute by check, credit card or another way that provides documentation of the donation.
  • Report suspected fraud. If you suspect tax or charity-related fraud, visit IRS.gov and click on 'Reporting Phishing' at the bottom of the home page.

These are just a few ideas on how you can feel more comfortable this season with your charitable giving. ManagingMoney.com wishes you and your family a very Happy Holiday Season.

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